With the party season well and truly upon us, it’s more than likely that you’ll need to buy a bottle or two of Champagne over the coming weeks. Fizz sales spike in December, and while Prosecco and Cava see an increase, it’s still Champagne that leads the festive charge.

The region of Champagne lies to the north east of Paris where almost 20,000 vignerons nurture the Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay required to make this fizzy elixir. The two red grapes provide structure, fruit and oomph (a technical wine term) while the Chardonnay brings elegance and finesse to the party.

When picking your bottle, you’ll have to decide whether to go for a non-vintage, a vintage (from a single year) or a deluxe (or prestige) cuvee. The non-vintage release is the Champagne house’s bread and butter. It tends to be a blend of three or four different years (hence, non-vintage) and is made in a consistent style.

The vintage wines are a snapshot of a particular year when the quality and abundance of the grapes has been good. The house needs the abundance as well as the quality, as they have to have enough of a yield to contribute to the non-vintage release as well.

The prestige cuvées are the top (and most expensive) releases, normally also from a single vintage. Think Moet’s Dom Pérignon, Roederer’s Cristal and Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne.

One of my favourite producers is Laurent-Perrier. Established in 1812, they are now the fifth biggest house in Champagne making seven million bottles per year. The quality across the range is unquestionable, with the Grand Siécle (Inverarity One to One, £130) being the very pinnacle of their production. Unlike most prestige cuvées, it’s a blend of grapes from three perfect years designed to combine finesse, power and balance. It’s cellared for eight years before release, and it is just a beautiful Champagne.

For a more affordable option, pop in to your local wine merchant and ask them about their house Champagne. They’ll happily recommend something in the £20-£25 range which should tick most of your boxes over the festive season. Cheers!